Antigone Tragic Characteristics

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Aristotle lived during an era where Greek drama was at its pinnacle. The great Greek dramatist, such as Sophocles, Euripides, Aeschylus, and their works influenced Aristotle to create a rubric of what a perfect tragedy embodies. This standard for tragic plays is known as the Poetics. Written in the 4th century B.C.E. the Poetics defines tragedy in 7 characteristics: it is mimetic, it is serious, it tells a full story of an appropriate length, it contains rhythm and harmony, rhythm and harmony occur in different parts of the tragedy, it is performed rather than narrated, and it arouses feelings of pity and fear through catharsis. I will be using the seven characteristics of the Poetics to analyze Antigone by the renowned Greek dramatist Sophocles. …show more content…
Antigone technically does not have its own beginning. It is the last part of the Oedipus Trilogy making its plot for an episodic play. A Greek tragedy’s plot construction usually consisted of the prologue, parados, episodia and epilogue. In the prologue the chorus introduces the characters of the play and then recalls the events prior to Antigone’s tragedy (i.e. the finale of Oedipus at Colonus). The parados accompanies the prologue in that it continues to explain events that will arise. The episodia follow the parados, each telling the audience about specific events concerning certain characters. This is where the majority of the action of the play takes place. The first episodia introduces Creon’s announcement to the chorus that he has banned the burial of Polynieces, a traitor in his eyes. The second episodia presents Antigone’s capture after being found making a burial for Polynieces, her brother. She is put on trial by Polynieces and punished (i.e. Hiding her in a cavern in the rocks, while she is still alive). In the third episodia Haemon, who is Creon’s son and Antigone’s fiancé, confronts his father about the irrational actions he has made. The fourth episode presents Antigone being led to the …show more content…
In the Poetics, this character is required to have 4 major attributes. The first is that they must be a good and upstanding person. Antigone is a good person; she did not commit a crime until Creon ruled that Polynieces would not have a proper burial. Her act in defying the head of the state and giving her brother a proper burial demonstrates that she is also an upstanding person. Second, the character must focus on becoming a better person. Antigone does aim to be a better person by being accountable for her own actions and denying her sister, Ismene, as being an accomplice to her crim. Third, they must be believable. It is rare for a tragic hero to be woman in this time period. Male characters dominated this niche in theater because women were seen as lesser beings. Therefore it is plausible that in ancient Greece Antigone’s character may have been perceived as unbelievable. Finally, and most importantly, the protagonist should be consistent in their behavior. Antigone’s motives are established in the first act of the play: that her brother must have a proper burial. This motive is fueled by her duty to her family as well as her devotion to the Gods. Her will to do right by her brother is persistent through out the play, making her a consistent

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